via The News
Nawaz says it is historic day; backs Chinese president’s suggestion of signing five-year accord of good neighbourhood; calls for joint efforts against terrorism; congratulates India on becoming full member of organisation; meets Afghan president; discusses regional security, terrorism and fence along Pak-Afghan border; terms his meeting with Russian president positive
ASTANA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has maintained that Pakistan has joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with the confidence that they would be able to change the world for the better.
“We would do so by harnessing the SCO’s enormous potential and proven competencies, as well as by leveraging the strong political will of the nations represented in the SCO. Pakistan stands ready to contribute to this collective endeavour.”
He expressed these views while addressing the Heads of State Council of the SCO here on Friday and said, “Today is a historic day for Pakistan, India and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). With immense pride and high expectations, Pakistan enters into this prestigious and important organisation as a full member. On this occasion, I thank the founding members of the SCO -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – for their staunch support to Pakistan’s membership. We are grateful to the SCO Secretary General and his efficient team for their assistance in the membership process.”
He conveyed his profound gratitude to President Nazarbayev and the people of Kazakhstan for hosting the important summit and for extending warm hospitality. He said that Pakistan is not unfamiliar with the SCO. In fact, over the last decade, it has developed a deep association with the organisation as its active observer. “We have attended all summits and worked earnestly with the SCO institutions such as its Business Council, Interbanking Consortium, SCO Forum and the Regional Anti-terrorist Structure. So, in a sense, we come prepared but we realize that we have a lot to learn from the wisdom of the founding members, as we orient our foreign policy in a changing international environment.”
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “With SCO members, we share deep historical and cultural ties, as well as strong economic and strategic linkages. SCO’s goals resonate with Pakistan’s national ethos; and so do the core values of the Shanghai Spirit and the SCO Charter with our own quest for a peaceful neighborhood. “In this contact, I welcome the proposal made by President XI on the need for a long term treaty of good neighbourhood for the next 5 years among SCO members. As leaders, we should leave a legacy of peace and amity for our future generations; not a toxic harvest ofconflict and animosity. Instead of talking about counterweights and containment, let us create shared spaces for all.”
He congratulated India on joining the SCO family. “Today, in its outreach, the SCO is truly transcontinental. In coming decades, it would serve as a strong link between the Asia-Pacific, East Asia, West Asia and the Atlantic region,” he said and added that over the years, the SCO had emerged as a sheet anchor for regional stability. “Now it is destined to become a cornerstone of global politics and economics, with economics gaining primacy. The SCO gives us a powerful platform for partnerships to promote peace, build trust, and spur economic development for shared prosperity. Moreover, it helps us all combat terrorism, reduce arms race, eliminate poverty, fight epidemics, deal with natural disasters, tackle climate change, and ensure water security,” he said adding, “We fully endorse the SCO resolve to fight twin evils of terrorism and extremism. Pakistan has fought its own fierce war against international terrorism and violent extremism and with the grace of God, we have been able to turn around the security and economic situation in our country.”
He said, “The SCO expansion takes place at an opportune time, as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) transforms global economic landscape and in Pakistan, we are diligently implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship of the BRI. What is more, these mega projects will benefit the entire SCO community.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to establish verifiable mechanism for checking terror activities across the border under the Quadrilateral Monitoring Group (QMG) of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US.
Under the system, the two countries will make it impossible to use their soils against each other. The understanding was reached in an important meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani here on Friday. The meeting took place on the request of the Afghan president.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, later while talking to media persons in his hotel, said that he had discussed with the Afghan president scope of cooperation in various fields, including trade, economy and security. The outcome of the meeting will be known in a couple of weeks.
To a query, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that he had discussed and raised the issue of human rights violations in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), Kashmir dispute with United Nations Secretary General and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders with whom he had met here, including Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Pakistan’s becoming full member of the SCO would help in resolving bilateral disputes with India and give new impetus to its efforts for greater regional connectivity and improvement in the economy,” he said.
He maintained that Pakistan joined the SCO comprising regional group which represents more than 40 percent of the world population and the region that is fast developing while Pakistan is also desperately trying to achieve the same objectives in the development.
He reminded that Pakistan is the third largest country in the SCO and moving at faster pace on the path of progress by overcoming its difficulties. “Pakistan is moving forward with stability and its development could reach the echelon the most developed countries of region have attained. We have shown development to the tune of 5.3 percent and God willing we can reach at nine to ten percent within a few years,” the premier said.
Talking about the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that it was impossible for the Indian forces to continue their atrocities for a longer period of time since former IHK chief minister Umar Farooq and a former RAW chief had confessed publicly that Indian forces couldn’t suppress the people of Kashmir any further. The Indian leaders and public opinion had been conceding that youth and Kashmiri people had come out from the towns and cities against the brutalities of the occupied forces. “They are asking the Indian government to have talks with Pakistan and Kashmiri people about the dispute without further delay," he said.
The prime minister said that UN Secretary General who had his maiden meeting with him earlier in the day had also conceded that the Kashmir dispute should be settled peacefully since he knew that it was among the issues which were to be resolved and pending on the agenda of the world body.
To another question, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the government was exploring all sophisticated methods to enhance power generation for catering to future needs but “we are satisfied that we have made arrangement for fulfilling our immediate requirements of the energy but we should also work on saving the energy as well.” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif parried the questions about the domestic political situation since he was standing on a foreign soil but said that the people of the country understood the conspiracies being hatched by certain elements to stall the progress of the country. He brushed aside the impression that he had any meeting with his Indian counterpart on the fringes of the SCO summit on Thursday evening. It was just a handshake and exchange of formal words, he added.
The prime minister said that the SCO leaders did aspire for restoration of normal ties between Pakistan and India. He termed his meeting with Russian President Putin extremely good and positive.
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